I wrote to my MP, Mark Tami, about the situation in Gaza and was very pleased with the response I got. I didn’t feel I could blog it without his permission, but I’ve had that (along with some very kind comments about the blog, which is always gratifying) so here’s an extract from his letter.
I have strong criticism for both sides too. On the one hand Hamas appears to be waging violent attacks that it knows will only lead to suffering for ordinary Palestinians, while Israel has responded in wholly disproportionate manner that does reflect in any way how a democracy should operate.
I was also deeply alarmed by the banning of two Islamic political parties in Israel. This is a dangerous step and one that should be challenged by the international convnunity. We have extremists in the form of the BNP who we could consider a threat to British security and our way of life. But I would sooner challenge them at the ballot box than have them forced underground. The Israelis claim that the two parties are opposed to Zionist ambitions, but on these tenuous grounds we could ban Welsh and Scottish nationalists from standing in UK elections. Likewise, the international community should be totally united in demanding a ceasefire. The present administration in Washington abstained on this vital issue, which I consider a grotesque absolution of responsibility.
Enclosed is a copy of my letter to the Foreign Secretary, which is self-explanatory. I will of course
forward the reply as soon as I receive it
Anyone who has read this blog recently will recognize that my MP’s views accord strongly with my own, but that isn’t why I’m blogging them. The situation in Gaza has moved on, thank God.
No, the main point here is just to illustrate that in a democracy our duties as citizens goes beyond turning out at the polling stations every four or five years. Part of our responsibility is to engage seriously with our elected representatives so that they can genuinely speak and act on our behalf. Mark’s letter demonstrates that such engagement is worth the effort.